Claire has experienced a great loss, and is facing another one—and she just doesn’t know if she’s ready to deal. Dr. Mary Rennalls looks at beautiful Claire with more than pity and compassion, but will the two women find solace in each other’s arms, or will Claire’s fear of losing yet another loved one keep her from trusting again?
I became aware of the warmth of us together, her sweet breath on my cheek. Her heart was a reminder, a constant lubdub under my ear. I remembered laying my head against Jack's chest like this when he was sick, hearing that sound. It was the sound of life. I reveled in it.
I turned my face up to hers, seeing just the outline of her cheek, the glimmer of her eyes. It had been so long since anyone had touched me or had seen so directly into my heart. I stroked her cheek. "Thank you."
"Claire—" she whispered my name like she wanted to say something, but nothing followed, and then I was kissing her, surprised at and lost in her softness and warmth. Her hand stroked me, my hair, my shoulder, my breast, my belly. It was a tender thing, like our kiss, stretching on and on. I let out a shuddering breath against her neck, pressing myself into her, wanting to be closer.
"Listen," Mary whispered, and I noticed that her breath was coming faster, like mine. "I don't think we should be doing this."
"I'm tired of should," I told her, sliding my thigh up between hers. "I'm tired of supposed to, I'm tired of have to, I'm just... I'm just so tired of closing my eyes so tight all the time."
Her face was inches from mine, and I could feel how taut her muscles were, as if she were holding something back. I wanted it. I wanted everything, all at once, and I wanted it now. I wanted to take and to have—and to hold. Definitely to hold.
"Claire, we—" I pressed my fingers to her lips, and then I pressed my lips there, too.
"I want you to help me," I whispered as I slipped my arms around her. "You said you wanted to help me. You brought me home so you could help me. I'm asking you to help me."
"How?" she asked, holding onto me.
"Just... just make me feel alive again," I whispered, my hands seeking her warmest, softest places in the dark. She gasped and sighed when I touched her, and I felt her longing. I hadn't felt so close to someone in so long. "Please. Touch me. Make me feel."-------------